What’s this project about?
Autistic children and youth are far more likely to experience co-occurring mental health problems, including anxiety and depression (Strang et al., 2012), compared to non-autistic children and youth. Despite evidence that many of the same interventions that have been developed for non-autistic people may be beneficial for autistic people, autistic individuals are far more likely to struggle accessing evidence-based psychosocial interventions to address these issues (Brookman-Frazee et al., 2012). This project aims to understand mental health service providers’ training, experience, attitudes, and knowledge related to working with clients with mental health problems who are also autistic or have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
How did we go about doing this project?
Dr. Weiss co-produced an online survey with the Youth Services Bureau Lead Agency to assess mental health providers’ knowledge, skills, perceptions, and training needs as they relate to autism, ADHD, and mental health. The online survey was completed by publicly-funded (n = 611) and private (n = 41) mental health service providers across Ontario and captured information about their experiences in, and opinions about, delivering psychotherapy for autistic clients, clients with ADHD, and clients in general.
What will we do with our research findings?
Through collaboration with Children's Mental Health Ontario, the findings from this study will improve our understanding of mental health providers’ attitudes, knowledge, confidence and training needs in delivering psychotherapy for autistic clients and clients with ADHD. Research findings may also be used to inform future clinical training programs and initiatives to improve access to effective mental health care for clients with neurodevelopmental conditions.
Results of this study will be summarized into provincial and regional reports, submitted for publication in an academic journal, and presented at national or international conferences.
Data collection is complete for the Mental Health Provider Survey. See the links below to download the Provincial Reports (PDFs). Regional Reports will be made available once complete.
Want to know more about this project?
For more information, please feel free to contact, Dr. Jonathan Weiss, Principal Investigator on the study, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project is supported by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
This project is in collaboration with Children's Mental Health Ontario.
 The online survey included several questionnaires by Maddox et al. (2019) which was adapted for this study. We thank Dr. Brenna Maddox for permission to use aspects of her survey.